“Un Pueblo Laborioso”: Mudejar Work in the Cantigas

in Medieval Encounters
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This essay analyzes the idea of “work” as a site of convergence between two meanings of the term mudejar: the sociohistorical, in which the Mudejar is a tax-paying minority Muslim under Christian rule, and the aestheticist, in which mudejar describes a style of architectural and artisanal craftsmanship. Both senses—minority labor as taxable production and as cultural product—are studied in the poetic and social contexts of medieval Spanish poetry, with specific attention to thirteenth-century Galician-Portuguese poetry. The essay concludes by identifying a shift, described in terms articulated by Pierre Bourdieu, in the economic relations between Christians and Muslims, from that primarily viewed as an interpersonal social relation to a material relation expressed as goods and capital.

Medieval Encounters

Jewish, Christian and Muslim Culture in Confluence and Dialogue



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